Govt and IOA huddle after IOC threat

In the wake of the International Olympic Committee's threat to de-recognise the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) over the government's interference in the national body's elections, top IOA officials met sports minster Jitendra Singh on Friday in a bid to end the impasse.

However, while the minister gave the nine-member IOA delegation led by acting president VK Malhotra and president-elect Abhay Singh Chautala a patient hearing, he insisted on the IOA holding its elections according to the Sports Code ó something which the IOC has objected to.

"The government is just providing a helping hand to the IOA to resolve the matter. The whole mess is between the IOA and the IOC, and sports ministry is not a part of it", Singh said.

"The Sports Code is exactly the same as the IOC Charter. It is in the same terms as our code regarding age, term or the clean practices. So there is no problem there. We are willing to help IOA and we are ready to sit with IOC to discuss any matter," the minister said.

The sports ministry also suggested that the IOA adopt the Sports Code in its constitution, therefore making the IOC's objections redundant. It's a solution that is unlikely to be accepted by the IOA.

Tainted Bhanot elected

Meanwhile, Suresh Kalmadi's long time aide, Lalit Bhanot, who spent nearly a year in jail in connection with the CWG corruption case, was elected IOA's secretary-general "unopposed" on Friday after the three-member IOA election panel, headed by Justice (retd) Anil Dev Singh, put up the final list of candidates. Among others, Virendra Nanavati (senior vice-president) and N Ramachandran (treasurer) were also elected unopposed along with Chautala.

Chautala defended Bhanot's election, saying that he hasn't been proved guilty in a court of law yet. Chautala also sought Randhir's resignation from the IOC, saying that according to 3.7 of the Olympic Charter, one can't be an IOC member if their NOC tenure has come to an end.

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